Bands I don’t know covering songs I don’t know written by bands I don’t know. Great.
So I knew this would be a trick coming in. But I can’t blame Brian for sending it to me, he’s probably all like “Who listens to Deep Elm stuff? Oh right, nobody. Gotta send it somewhere!” Well okay, some people listen to the label judging by the Punknews archives, but I don’t think there’s a single Deep Elm release in my vast collection. Maybe I just couldn’t bring myself to frequent a label who runs something called The Emo Diaries into the ground. Well, here’s the scoop with this one: We’ve got new-school Deep Elm covering old-school Deep Elm they say, yet out the 21 bands represented here (both cover-ers and cover-ees) I have only heard of four of them. I didn’t say I could tell you anything about them, but I’ve heard of them. It would be ridiculous to try to research every band and devour their back catalogues in order to tell you how faithful/different each cover may be, therefore I think I must judge each track here on simply “Is it any good?”
I kinda like Desert City Soundtracks’s squealy feedback-riddled, piano a-plenty version of the Appleseed Cast’s “Marigold and Patchwork." Slowride’s folky acoustic “Fishing the Sky,” the other Appleseed Cast tune here, is nice because it mixes things up from all the loudness competition goin’ on. “Blindspot” by Brandtson, covered by Lock and Key, is decent because these dudes sound a bit like Small Brown Bike with their throaty vocals and heavy dissonant chords over a tom-filled beat. Free Diamonds doing Muckafurgason’s “Go Teens” could be called the only ‘pop’ track here, and in my opinion the only really ‘fun’ track. It’s got a revved up `60s pop beat and sweet organ work, a ska-like feel in the verse and some sassy vocals that sound like when the Blood Brothers guys would try to actually sing. It’s a welcome relief from all the emo seriousness here.
The main problem with this whole set is that most tracks don’t stand out much at all; they are rather uninteresting to me. They pass by, something I possibly could have been into four or five years ago, but these days it all sounds like a genre that is spent. Downright bad would be Fightstar’s version of the Last Days of April song, “The Days I Recall Being Wonderful," which is painfully emo with vocals that are weak as hell. Surrounded covering Starmarket’s “Coming from the Cold” is uninteresting and weak as well, despite the decent attempt at string backing.
“Is it any good?” The answer overall would be “nah”, but there are a few individual tracks worth hearing twice. Perhaps not knowing any of these bands hurt my enjoyment, but I just am not into music like this anymore. I don’t even know who to blame for this, the original artists or the cover bands, but I do know I won’t be listening to this again.